Zoran Barisic: Shakhtar goalkeeper rescued his team

Manager of Rapid commented on the game vs Shakhtar.

- The match was very entertaining and tough throughout the 90 minutes. I think that we’ve missed some luck today. Especially before conceding that goal - we had a clear-cut chance, but Shakhtar goalkeeper rescued his team. It's a pity to have given one away just before the break, but it’s encouraging that we played on equal terms with such a great team having so much experience in the Champions League. I wish we’d equalized though.

- I the opening stages of the game your team earned three yellow cards. Why is such roughness in the first half?
- By and large, the game was fair. The ref booked both Shakhtar and us. There was one really unnecessary card earned by Beric. But overall, again, the game was fair.

- You said that Rapid had to strike a balance between tension and calm. Did you manage to do it today?
- Difficult question. In general, I believe that the team played very well today and that we lost unfairly. Shakhtar are a very strong team, and it should not be forgotten. The game was even, in some situations we were just short of luck. So I cannot criticize my guys, on the contrary, I want to pay them compliments. They proved that they can play at top level. I am optimistic about the future. As for the return leg in Lviv: if we want to advance further, we must win.

- What do you make of Rapid’s chances to reach the group stage? Are they miserable, minimal, or you have some serious grounds for optimism?
- In the second leg, Shakhtar will be the favourites, that’s beyond controversy. After the home defeat our chances are minimal, but everything can change.

- In the closing 15 minutes, the players of Shakhtar often fell, there were many challenges for the ball. Does it mean that Rapid have managed to impose their game onto the major opponents? Did your players look better physically?
- Shakhtar are a very cohesive team. This team has the players with great individual brilliance, who well know all the subtleties. If we believe in ourselves, then perhaps the result will get more favourable for us.

- In the first half, your striker Robert Beric almost did not get much of the ball. Does it mean that Shakhtar have played in a very disciplined way defensively?
- Beric got few good passes from his teammates. While the Pitmen’s defensive third operated in a consistent and compact manner. I want to note that even before conceding that goal, Rapid had a few clear-cut chances. For example, Louis Schaub did. Had we scored, everything could have looked differently.

- Before the match, you said that it was necessary to neutralize the offensive third of Shakhtar and that great danger comes from that line. Did Rapid players succeed at that?
- First of all, we wanted to make sure that our players always back each other. We wanted to cover all zones to prevent Shakhtar players from giving it a go. Partly we did it, but, of course, sometimes there remained some open spaces. But in general the team played very well and fulfilled the game plan for today's match. Especially well we operated defensively - the opponents failed to create numerous chances. Once again, we had some very good chances to score before missing that goal. We saw that Shakhtar had done it off the bar, and realized that the little things can decide the outcome of the meeting.

- It was clear today that Rapid did not play very fast football, they tried to control the ball and use short passing, also combining a lot. Was it the game plan for this meeting?
- To be honest, I would like to see our players having even more control of the ball. In the first half we did it, but in the third part of the match the team got somewhat flat, perhaps lacking some creativity in front of the opposing goal. Nevertheless, we saw that Rapid played strongly enough and that we can achieve a better result.